Cutting Mat Board Efficiently

Cutting mat board efficiently is important if you're cutting mat board yourself to save money. Even if you're cutting mat board to be more creative on a project or perhaps, just to learn a new skill; you'll want to make the most of each sheet you buy.

A standard sheet of mat board is 32" x 40". You can buy larger sheets if needed, but this is the standard. 

In an effort to find new ways to help, I took the math out of it for you - you can thank me later!!

Armed with the proper mat cutting tools - be it a hand held mat cutter or a mat cutting system - you can now carve up your mat boards with confidence!

Here are some cutting diagrams to get you started: 

Cutting mat board efficiently

Mat cut sheet for 5 x 7 and 11 x 14 mats

11 x 14 and 5 x 7  mats

Mat cut sheet for 8 x 10 mats

8 x 10 mats   

Mat cut sheet for 8 x 10 and 16 x 20 mats

8 x 10 and 16 x 20  mats

Mat cut sheet for 16 x 20 mats

16 x 20 mats  

Picture matting come in endless sizes. The diagrams above are for some popular standard sized mats. Cutting mat board up in advance may not always make sense.

Many times I will buy a sheet and cut it as I need it. Since I make  a lot of custom frames it's much easier to do it that way. The down side is that you end up with a lot of sheets that are partially cut and you need to store them somehow. 

Tips - Keep unused mat board in a bag or covered. If it is exposed to light over a period of time the shade of the exposed area can change and end up looking different from other areas of the board that may be covered or some how shaded from the light.

Also, try to avoid standing it up over a long period of time. It will start to bow and could make it more difficult to work with later.  If you have to stand sheets of mat board up, try to put a brace in front of them so they stand flat to a wall.

One last tip.

Cutting mat board efficiently means making use of the scraps too!

As scraps start to build up, you may be tempted to throw them away. That's a shame! If you take some time, you can come up with neat little gifts or crafts you can make out of them.

Here is something I came up with in just a few minutes for my wife, as an example.

These are 3 x 4 mats I cut out of scraps. I printed some of the old Love Is cartoons from off the web and taped them on the back. I used the cut out from the windows of each mat as a stand on the back. Taping them horizontally at the bottom.


By the way she loved them!!

Mat frames made of scrap mat board

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Updated November 18, 2022